Thorfinn Thordarson Karlsefni in "The Saga of the Greenlanders"

Chapter 6



That same summer a ship from Norway arrived in Greenland. The skipper of the ship was named Thorfinn Karlsefni. He was the son of Thord Horse-head, the son of Snorri Thordarson of Hofdi.

Thorfinn Karlsefni was a very wealthy man. He spent the winter with Leif Eiriksson in Brattahlid. He was soon attracted by Gudrid and asked her to marry him, but she referred him to Leif for an answer. She was then engaged to him and their wedding took place that winter.

The discussion of a voyage to Vinland continued as before, and people strongly urged Karlsefni to make the journey, Gudrid among them.[...]

Chapter 8



To return to Karlsefni, he made his ship ready and set sail. They had a good passage and made land in Norway safely. He remained there over the winter, sold his goods, and both he and his wife were treated lavishly by the leading men in Norway. The following spring he made his ship ready to sail to Iceland.

When he was ready to sail and the ship lay at the landing stage awaiting a favourable wind, he was approached by a southerner, from Bremen in Saxony. He asked Karlsefni to sell him the carved decoration on the prow.*

'I don't care to sell it,' he replied.

'I'll give you half a mark of gold for it,' the southerner said.

Karlsefni thought this a good offer and the purchase was concluded. The southerner then took the decoration and departed. Karlsefni did not know of what wood it was made, but it was of maple which had been brought from Vinland.

Karlsefni then put to sea and made land in north Iceland, in Skagafjord, where he had his ship drawn ashore for the winter. In the spring he purchased the land at Glaumbaer and established his farm there, where he lived for the remainder of his days. He was the most respected of men. He and his wife, Gudrid, had a great number of descendants, and a fine clan they were. [...]Bjorn, another son of


Karlsefni and Gudrid, was the father of Thorunn, the mother of Bishop Bjorn.

There are a great number of people descended from Karlsefni, who founded a prosperous clan. It was Karlsefni who gave the most extensive reports of anyone of all of these voyages, some of which have now been set down in writing.

Source: Keneva Kunz, trans., "[Thorfinn Thordarson Karlsefni in] The Saga of the Greenlanders" in The Sagas of Icelanders: A Selection, preface by Jane Smiley, introduction by Robert Kellogg, (New York, London, Victoria (Australia), Toronto, Auckland: The Penguin Group. , 2000). Notes: Translations first published in The Complete Sagas of Icelanders, volumes I-V (forty-nine tales), Leifur Eiriksson Publishing, Ltd, Iceland 1997.

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